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4 Strategies To Improve Midweek Trade

For Restaurants

It’s a phenomenon witnessed across the whole restaurant industry – Friday and Saturday nights are busy, but the rest of the week is a slow crawl.

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It’s a phenomenon witnessed across the whole restaurant industry – Friday and Saturday nights are busy, but the rest of the week is a slow crawl. Here are our tips on how to boost your restaurant’s midweek trade and weekly takings with on-trend marketing activities.

Make Every Night Special

The simplest way to bring people into your venue is with regular promotional events. Whether it’s value-added promotions, special nightly menus, pop-ups, or live entertainment, creating a weekly deal or a point of difference is an effective way to bring in customers.

Once you’ve made a roster of events and specials, promote them with in-house collateral to notify your regulars, and digital channels to engage a specific wider audience.

Mobile Applications

Leveraging the large audiences of mobile applications like Claim & Clipp are an easy way to get your restaurant in front of new and active customers. Entice prospective customers and stand out from the competition by promoting attractive weeknight deals on these applications.

Social Media Advertising

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to reach a wide, engaged audience. While the reach of organic posts is on the decline, sponsored posts are an effective way to reach ideal audiences to boost mid-week trade. For best results, schedule mid-week advertising campaigns across your social channels, like Instagram and Facebook, and trigger them on and off during key trade periods.

Social media advertising is also a great way to communicate with existing customers, and incentivise them to host milestone celebrations at your venue.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an effective and affordable way to communicate with your audience, actually offering the highest return on investment for all paid marketing activities.

As you develop a database, segment them according to interest and behaviours, and market to them with specific content. Discounts and other incentives are an easy way to motivate your audience to join your database.

Audit Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re looking for ways to boost your midweek revenue, request a free audit from Australia’s hospitality marketing experts at Merge Digital.

Developing a marketing strategy for your function venue often requires a steep learning curve. But once you get rolling, the strategy can be easily scaled upwards. That means you can spend more time focusing on the important stuff: catering for your clients.

As Australia’s leading marketing agency for function venues and events services, we’ve compiled a guide to help you assemble your marketing strategy. This guide is based on our experience in marketing for a wide range of Australia’s top function venues and includes actionable tips to boost your function enquiry rate by as much as 200%.

How To Create A Marketing Strategy for Your Event Venue

A few steps need to be taken before we dive into our marketing campaign. It’s important to set clear goals, identify your audience and set up measurements for success. Each of these points have been outlined below in greater detail.

Venue Marketing Ideas

1. Determine the types of events your venue wants to host

A clear understanding of your preferred event categories will enable you to profile the types of people who are most likely to make a function enquiry.

Assess your venue’s capabilities and determine which event types are best suited to your function spaces. Most events types can be classified according to three major categories: weddings, corporate and private events.

Weddings

  • Wedding Receptions
  • Wedding Ceremonies
  • Engagement Parties

Corporate

  • Networking events
  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • EOFY
  • Christmas functions

Private Parties & Celebrations

  • Birthday parties
  • Hens nights
  • Bucks parties
  • High Tea

People within each of these major categories usually share similar demographics. For example, people looking for wedding venues are likely to be females who are engaged. Corporate function enquiries are often made by people who are employed in corporate industries and their job descriptions may include ‘Event Managers’ or Social Convenors’.

Your marketing strategy should aim to communicate directly with each audience depending on their interests, needs and demographics.

Expert Tip

Brides are aren’t interested in hosting weddings at ‘corporate’ venues and corporate event hosts are less inclined to host conferences at ‘wedding venues’. Most function venues can be adapted to cater for both event categories, so it’s important that each audience receives messaging that is specific to their interests.

Venue Marketing Ideas

2. Define your marketing goals and create measurements for success

When setting goals for your business, it’s important to remember that function enquiries can be received across a range of channels, including phone calls, emails, website enquiry forms, social media and more.

Some event types are more likely to enquire through particular channels whether it’s online or offline. Events with longer lead-time may be likely to enquire via email or online forms – whereas events with short lead-time are likely to reach straight for the phone.

Expert Tip

Measuring your campaign performance involves tracking enquiries across online and offline channels. Venues looking to achieve the best results from their marketing strategy must be able to do the following:

  • Track the source of each function enquiry through analytics tools
  • Monitor the journey of each customer through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

3. Devise a clear marketing budget

When planning your marketing budget, it’s important to remember that some event types require up to six communication touch points before an initial enquiry is made. Spending your entire budget on one form of media may not be appropriate for all venues.

The type of marketing strategy that you employ is affected by the budget that you can afford. Some forms of marketing, including broadcast or print media, are more expensive than others.

A monthly marketing budget should include costs for the creation of regular website content, photography, video, graphic design, email marketing and advertisements (online and print).

 

Expert Tip

Venues looking to keep costs to a minimum may benefit from digital marketing, including search engine optimisation or online advertisements through Google Adwords and Facebook. These platforms allow businesses to advertise their services for as little as $5 per day.

4. Review your marketing efforts and optimise your marketing campaign

Your marketing report should indicate which enquiries are converting and provide an estimate of the cost per acquisition for each event category. A consistent, monthly review process will help to eliminate wasted spend so that you can capture more enquiries for your function venue.

A range of free reporting tools are available to help you review your marketing efforts. These tools can provide comprehensive reports that indicate the exact number of phone calls, emails or enquiry form submissions were made through your website each month.

 

Expert Tip

Two essential components should be included in your monthly marketing review:

  • Breakdown of Enquiries by Event Type
    Create a spreadsheet with that provides a breakdown of enquiries categories by event type. Include one column for all enquiries and a second column for all converted enquiries. A third column should indicate what percentage of enquiries were converted into sales.
  • Cost per acquisition/Cost Per Enquiry
    An estimate of the marketing costs spent for each enquiry. For example each wedding enquiry could cost $20 in Facebook advertisements.

Despite being reported by Google Engineer Matt Cutts as a “minor change”, this update opened the door for major brands to become more prominent within the search results.

SEO experts believe that the long-term implications of this minor update have had a profound effect on the search results, as this allowed established brands to employ SEO tactics such as private link networks that would normally result in a red flag from Google.

In his article, How 16 Companies are Dominating the World’s Google Search Results, Glen Allsopp explains how 16 companies have grown to dominate the world’s search results. Their domination of the search results affects all major consumer industries including cosmetics, gaming, whitegoods, technology, music, finance and more.

Allsopp believes that the domination of search results by major brands is going to get much worse as each company plans to spread their online presence across their own private link networks.

See More: Read the Full Article

Venue Marketing Ideas

Marketing is a necessity for any business, particularly in an era where competition runs rife and potential consumers are overrun with messaging across all platforms. Effective marketing enables you to stand out from the white noise and get your brand into the mind of consumers. This industry is constantly changing, which means you need to be changing alongside it. Get ahead of your competitors by utilising these four emerging social marketing trends of 2018.

Facebook Messenger As An Alternative To Email Marketing

According to some digital marketing specialists Facebook Messenger will soon be used as an alternative strategy to email marketing. Many professionals in Digital Marketing understand how difficult it can be to create a successful email marketing campaign, with open rates of EDMs remaining universally low. This trend towards Facebook Messenger as a key communication platform could drastically change customer relationships as mobile messages are proven to have a much higher open rate than email. Furthermore, Facebook Messenger offers a quicker response rate to customer enquiries, boosting your customer communication flow.

The Use Of Chatbots

Managing customer enquiries in a timely and relevant manner is increasingly difficult, particularly as an organisation continues to grow. Streamlining your communication channels and creating an automated response system allows you to reach customers at the right time, in the right place and with the right context. It is for this reason that Chatbots are increasingly relied upon for online communications with both current and potential customers.

On Facebook Messenger alone there are more than 100,000 chatbots currently being used to gather information. The most important thing to focus on when using a chatbot is that it comes across as relevant and human. If your chatbot can’t stimulate a real and helpful conversation with customers it will have an adverse effect and end up isolating them further from your business.

Becoming A Multimedia Company

The digital world is continually evolving and adapting to new trends, which means as a business, you need to be doing this too. It is no longer enough to have a good website. Your business needs to be present across a number of platforms. We all know that a strong social media presence is a necessity, however, this alone is not enough. Videos now attract the highest engagement from target audiences which means, not only do you need to have a great website and social media content, you should also consider posting vlogs and promotional videos. Podcasts are growing in preference as well, with many young consumers preferring podcasts to music and the radio when commuting to and from work. To make your business stand out in a sea of online communication, a versatile multi-media marketing strategy is a must.

Prioritising Online Reviews

Positive reviews are becoming increasingly important for your business. 50% of people under the age of 50 will check online reviews before making a purchase. It’s not all about the social proof either, Google considers reviews to be a good indicator of a business’s legitimacy and will take a rating into account when ranking your website in its search engine. Facebook’s new City Guide [link] feature uses reviews in their algorithms when deciding what local venues to promote to visiting tourists.

More Tips From Merge Digital

The world of marketing is an ever-changing landscape. Keeping on top of every trend and marketing avenue is almost impossible, However, remaining educated on the latest marketing trends and updates will help your business get one step ahead. If you want to learn more about the industry and how it can benefit you, head to our blogroll for the most relevant marketing tips and tricks your business needs. If you have any questions or are interested in help with your marketing campaign feel free to contact our team below.

Weddings provide restaurants and function venues with a great opportunity to boost revenue.

It’s the bride and groom’s special day and many couples want to host an extravagant celebration they will remember for a lifetime. Promoting your restaurant or function space as a wedding venue requires planning and taking time to do this properly could be rewarding for your business.

Things To Consider When Planning Your Strategy

Before you start planning your marketing campaign, it’s important to consider the following points:

  • Who will be the primary decision maker, the bride or groom? More often than not, it’s the bride who is the key decision maker.
  • Are you promoting your venue as a same-sex wedding venue?
  • What types of weddings your venue is best suited for?
  • Do you have ceremony spaces available, or is your venue appropriate for receptions only?
  • Do you have space for outdoor receptions, or indoors?
  • Can you offer both seated and cocktail style receptions?
  • What the seating and standing capacities of your venue?
  • What packages will you offer and at what price per person? Most venues offer a range of multi-course set menus, cocktail menus and a buffet option.

Peak Season For Wedding Enquiries

Wedding Venue Marketing

The number of people searching wedding venues reaches a peak in January each year. As a result your campaign must be up and running during this period. The demand for weddings is lower outside of the peak season, in response to this some venues may consider offering incentives to drive enquiries during the middle of the year.

1. Social Media Marketing

The social media presence of a wedding venue has a strong impact on its perceived credibility. Social media is also the platform where a wedding venue can accurately communicate its branding and imaging, attracting brides with similar styles. Your Instagram account should be regularly updated with images of the venue, catering and examples of weddings or events held on location.

The Instagram story tool can be used in a variety of ways, particularly now with the pinned stories function. These pinned stories are another way to showcase your venue and can be used to:

  • Show behind the scene videos of venue styling
  • Highlight previous weddings and functions at your venues
  • Promote deals and incentives
  • Promote upcoming wedding showcases
Wedding Venue SEO & Marketing Ideas

2. Facebook & Instagram Advertising Campaigns

Facebook’s advertising platform offers businesses a variety of ways to target potential brides. The detailed targeting system provides the opportunity to reach people who are specifically interested in weddings or actively looking to plan a wedding.

On top of targeting specific geographic locations, genders and age groups, the following demographics and interests may help your venue to generate more wedding enquiries:

  • Females who are newly engaged (1, 3 and 6 months)
  • Friends of people who are newly engaged
  • People who have set their relationship status to engaged
  • Engaged females who have shown interest in weddings
Wedding venue google ad

3. Google Ad Campaigns

Google is another platform that is effective in driving more leads for your wedding venue. There are two key channels for advertising on Google: the display network and the search network. Using keywords that suit your venue, your ads can be set up to appear as:

  • Banner ads on the display network
  • Banner ads on related sites due to placement targeting
  • Text ads on the google search engine

Using Google Ads with correct keywords ensures your venue is placed directly in front of users who are searching for wedding venues and reception ideas.

Wedding venue open day

4. Wedding Open Day

Wedding open days are an excellent form of experiential marketing. This is an influential way to convert potential clients who are in the process of planning their wedding.

Open days will give you an opportunity to partner with industry suppliers who will further promote your business to their networks. These suppliers may include photographers, stylists, makeup artists, celebrants and entertainers.

Incentives can be used to drive attendance for your wedding open day. These incentives could include package upgrades, discounted services from suppliers or venue hire offers. Exclusive promotions can be provided to couples who attend the open day. These offers can expire within a set timeframe following the open day to encourage bookings from potential brides.

Data from the open day registration forms can then be used to re-target customers with follow up EDMs or digital marketing campaigns.

Wedding Venue SEO & Marketing Ideas

5. Wedding Directories

Adding your venue to wedding directories will help you to get in front of brides and grooms who are actively searching for wedding venues online. Most directories already rank highly in search engines and have their own databases, which will help to drive traffic to your venue. On top of this, having multiple backlinks to your site from relevant, high-quality wedding directories will help boost your own SEO.

Wedding Venue SEO & Marketing Ideas

6. Collaborative Photoshoots

Staged photo shoots are an excellent way to promote your venue. Collaboration with suppliers, stylists, florists, designers and models will provide your venue with a library of images that can then be shared across media channels of all brands involved.

Wedding Venue SEO

7. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The final aspect to consider when marketing your venue is the Search Engine Optimisation of your website. Optimising your content for search engines will result in a better placement on Google and other important search engines. Boosting your organic rankings will lead to improved visibility from brides and grooms.

To ensure your website is correctly optimised, consider the following:

  • Metadata is correctly formatted for search engines and has been written to attract attention from people searching for wedding venues.
  • Images are optimised for mobile devices with relevant titles and alt tags.
  • Website content includes phrases and keywords that are used by brides who are searching for wedding venues.
  • Content is regularly updated and well written.
  • Backlinks to the site are in place from relevant websites and directories.

The festive season provides hospitality operators with a range of opportunities to generate additional revenue for their businesses. From office parties to family dinners and catch-ups between friends, there’s plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Find out how you can boost revenue for your businesses this festive season with these proven hospitality marketing strategies.

Set Menus & Festive Packages

Christmas is a busy time of year, so it’s important that bookings can be made easily at your venue. Festive-themed menus and cocktail packages should be costed at a set price per person to simplify the process for your customers.

Incentivise Bookings During Quiet Periods

Key Christmas dates are bound to be snapped up quickly, so be sure to provide incentives to drive bookings at your restaurant during quiet periods of trade. This could include complimentary appetisers, a complimentary round of drinks on arrival or provide special packages to cater during those quiet hours.

Target Corporates In The Local Area

Facebook’s advertising platform offers a variety of ways to engage with corporates in the local area of your restaurant. Their detailed advertising system will allow your venue to target corporate customers based on a range of demographics.

Consider testing some of the following advertising campaign combinations on Facebook with the aim of generating bookings in mind, such as “corporate employees” whose job description would involve organizing office Christmas parties, and “small business owners” who are in employment industries such as “administration”, “legal”, “real estate”, “IT”, or “engineering”.

Target Families

Try targeting content in Facebook to potential customers interested in private family Christmas parties. Use targeting options such as age groups (older family member are the ones who normally organise Christmas events), parents, people who have liked or interacted with your venue’s Facebook/Instagram page, and people who have viewed content on your website that is relevant to Christmas.

Facebook is an excellent tool for building customer loyalty. It’s a platform that encourages communication and engagement with customers on a personal and reactive level. On top of this, it’s a great way to communicate your brand image, promote events and advertise your business to highly targeted audiences. To help you run your social presence efficiently here are four ways to use Facebook effectively as a business.

Facebook Business Page

Setting up a Facebook Business Page is imperative to the success of your business. Social media profiles of a business are one of the first things potential customers check to validate that your business is legitimate. Facebook business pages are best used for:

Business Information

Many businesses fail to meet the basic requirements of a Facebook page, that is all the key information regarding your business. Ensure your business page contains the following details:

  • Link to your company’s website
  • Links to menus
  • A photo album titled ‘menus’ with up to date images of your menu
  • Correct operating hours
  • Phone number and contact email
  • Address with consistent formatting to your Google business listing
  • Brief outline of venue, cuisine and costs
  • Shared images of your food, venue, customers and events

Customer Relationship Management

Facebook pages provide a platform for customer communication. You can effectively respond to customer complaints, reviews and queries in a timely manner via the page itself or your associated messenger. This is particularly important for negative reviews left in a public forum or news feed. Facebook allows you to see the problem and deal with it quickly before too much damage is done.

Business Updates & Changes

Your Facebook Business Page allows you to inform customers and clients of any business updates such as changes in store location, holiday opening hours and new products or menus depending on your business.

Upcoming Events and Seasonal Specials

Another great use for a Facebook Business Page is to alert your customers of any upcoming events such as:

  • Venue open days
  • Seasonal events like Christmas lunch, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
  • Seasonal specials and promotions
  • Live bands or performance nights
  • Pop-up stalls at local fairs, markets or fundraising events

Facebook Events

Creating an event is another way to effectively use Facebook as a business. With a majority of our customers on Facebook everyday, it’s the best way to ensure news of your special events are spread. These event pages should contain any promotional images, videos and information regarding the event including time, date and location. As audience members begin to click ‘attending’ or ‘interested’ your event will appear on their friends newsfeeds, helping to promote your event for free.

 

Facebook Messenger & Chatbots

Facebook messenger is becoming a prominent mode of communication between customers and your business, with these message boxes now automatically popping up as a customer visits your page. Messenger allows you to respond almost immediately to your customers enquiries which results in improved customer relations and increases the chances of sales conversions. Furthermore implementing the use of chatbots means an automated conversation can start taking place immediately with every customer, gathering important details about your consumers.

 

Facebook Ads 

Finally, a Facebook business page grants you access to Facebook’s detailed advertising platform. This tool allows you to target very specific audience groups with your ads, increasing their chance of engagement.

More Tips From Merge Digital

For more tips and tricks on how to effectively market your business head to our blogroll. If you’re interested in working with our team to create an effective marketing campaign please contact us today.

Whether you realise it or not, every business has a story to tell. Social media is the perfect platform to share this story with potential customers.

Using a story is a great way to make people care about a product or business you are promoting. As humans, we are wired to enjoy stories. Storytelling on social media helps to build a personalised brand that people trust.

When it comes to building a social media presence, it is important that you are offering more than just a sleek logo and some professional photographs. If you want customers to follow you on social media you need to make them feel like it’s worth their time. You can do this by posting behind the scenes videos, candid photographs, original blog content and any other content that tells the story of who you are as a brand.

Use Videos, Images and Design

While it may not seem like much, this sort of social media storytelling can make a huge difference to how the brand is seen by potential customers.

Remember when exploring ways to tell a story on social media to embrace visuals as much as possible. Including images and interesting design will add a whole other layer to the narrative you are sharing.

Make It Personal

When telling stories on social media it helps to make it personal. Customers are much more likely to trust a brand when they can see the face of the brand. Share images and videos of real people who work for your organisation. Tell your followers a little about who they are. This will give them a reason to trust your brand. Encourage people to write reviews about their experience with your company and share these online. Encourage tagging and sharing as much as possible. People are much more likely to trust an organisation when it has ‘social proof’.

Get Your Story Out There

These are just some simple ways to use social media to tell your brand’s story. There are heaps of different things you can do to tell a story about your brand that will make your customers feel more connected and comfortable with your brand.

Are you targeting 21st birthdays at your cocktail bar, yet your ads are appearing for searches such as ‘kids birthday party venue’? Or perhaps you are advertising your restaurant for wedding receptions and your ads are showing for ‘BYO wedding venues’? Maybe you’re not even sure who’s seeing your ads but your Google Ads budget is being spent without generating more function bookings at your venue.

Importance Of Negative Keywords

When you’re paying per click through Google’s advertising platform, it’s important to ensure that those clicks are relevant to your venue’s goals. Adding negative keywords to your campaigns is one of the easiest ways to reduce budget strain.

How To Create Your List Of Negative Keywords

If you have active campaigns, the first thing to do is check your search term report. This is where you’ll find what users are typing into Google and triggering your ads. Make a list of all terms that are irrelevant and add these as negative keywords. Negative keywords have the same match types as keywords, that is: broad, phrase and exact.

How To Use Negative Keywords

Let’s say that your keyword is: Wedding Venue Sydney

You find in your search term report the phrase: ‘Sydney venue for self catered wedding’

As your venue does not allow self catering, you would add ‘self catered’ as a phrase match negative keyword: “self catered”.

Why phrase match? If you added self catered as a broad keyword, you would then exclude yourself from searches such as: ‘Sydney wedding venue that is catered’ and ‘catered Sydney wedding venue.’

If that ‘self catered’ search term is costing you $20 a week in wasted clicks, by adding that as a negative term, you have freed that budget and could allow for 8-10 more clicks (based off $2 cpcs) on your relevant terms.

Improve Your Google Ads Campaigns Today

If you’d like some more tips on how to make that most of Google Adwords, get in contact with the experts at Merge Digital. We can help you set up and manage an Adwords campaign that will get you in front of your potential customers. 

Instagram Stories have officially overtaken Snapchat in popularity.  Over 300 million people use this platform every day. This is great news for the millions of businesses who use Instagram Stories to promote themselves. When used strategically this platform is a great way for venues to drive customer enquiries and bookings. Increase your insta-game with the following tips.

1. Promote New Menus and Seasonal Specials

If your venue has introduced an exciting new menu or you are promoting a special, Instagram Stories are a great way to spread the message about it and increase sales. Share appealing imagery such as videos and photos that tell the viewer something about the item you are promoting. This could be a series of images demonstrating the ingredients that go into a special or a video of a new menu item being made. Include a call to action text such as ‘swipe up for the full menu’ to increase engagement.

2. Behind-The-Scenes Look

As the digital market gets more crowded, the importance of venue personality is getting stronger. Customers want a venue they trust and can connect with. Instagram stories can be used to show small behind the scenes clips of a business. This can be done in a range of ways including;

  • Quick updates of fresh produce by chefs
  • Snaps of what’s going on in the kitchen
  • Fun videos ie; cocktail making lessons
  • Content documenting the set up for large events

Behind-the-scene looks give you the chance to communicate your venues personality and facilities. This increases the venues credibility and approachability drawing in customers.

3. Cross-Platform Marketing

If your venue has a blogroll or Youtube channel then Instagram Stories can be used to promote the content. Content marketing is an excellent way to increase your venue’s website ranking and draw in customers who are searching for function related ideas and tips. The story platform on Instagram will help increase your contents reach.

4. Promoting Events

The Instagram Stories tool is a great way for venues to promote events that they are hosting or are involved in. This could be anything from a branded event such as a launch night to charity events like balls and trivia nights. You can also promote community events, such as street festivals or private events like weddings and birthdays.  Not only will this content be interesting and authentic, it is the perfect opportunity to showcase your venues services and facilities. We recommend using Instagram Stories live to share the event with your followers.

5. Instagram Highlights

Instagram highlights also known as pinned stories can be used by businesses to further promote themselves on Instagram. Highlights should be broken up into categories, for example, a restaurant might break their highlights up into food, wine and functions. When the restaurant posts a story that they believe is particularly interesting or effective they save it to the category it best fits. When a potential customer reaches your Instagram page they will be able to get a better idea of what your business is and what you are about thanks to the highlights pinned at the top of your page.

If you haven’t used Instagram stories to promote your business yet, use these easy tips to get started. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but be sure your content is original, engaging and on brand.